PR Friday – 13 FEB 2015

PR Friday is a forum to allow you to share your triumphs and failures with your strength training brethren. How has your training been this week? What questions do you have for your peers? Talk and mingle.

Do you have a training question? Ask anyone from the 70′s Big Crew a question in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Follow 70’s Big on Instagram.

Valentine’s Day Gift — Post lifting videos for critiques to the comments here or on Facebook.


I highly suggest you check out “No Country for Old Lifters“, a new story from Brent Kim at It’s a brilliant satirical piece that smashes Cormac McCarthy together with lifting and the omnipresence of loneliness. Or something. And I’m always tickled to make a cameo…


Here’s a short excerpt for the new book, which is kind of a late stage novice or early intermediate strength program, but billed as an upper body focused program. This excerpt is in a section called “More Tension Means More Muscle” and is in a later chapter of information that augments the program:

Most trainees have heard the cue “knees out” for squatting. The result of this cue is to make the hips externally rotate, which contracts the external rotators and lateral part of the hip and therefore lengthens the internal rotators and medial part of the hip (to include the adductors of the groin). To simplify the biomechanics, this means that all the muscles on all sides of the hip are active and providing tension. The more tension, the more control there is throughout the range of motion of the squat.


The same principle applies to the pressing movements. The external rotators of the shoulder will activate if the elbows are cued to a) stay at 45 degrees on the bench and press and b) stay close to the ribs on the dip. This lengthens the internal rotators of the shoulder and therefore provides more tension, and therefore stability at the shoulder. Stability is important since the shoulder joint can move around so easily. In the last chapter, we briefly talked about how the scapula and humerus are held in place by muscle and soft tissue. The scapula itself can move around – up, down, in, and out. Not having control of the scapula during a pressing movement means not all of the force the muscles are applying is actually getting to the bar. If the shoulder is stable, then force can be efficiently transferred. And external rotation is vital to stabilize the shoulder on pressing movements.

17 thoughts on “PR Friday – 13 FEB 2015

  1. No PR’S this week. Still going up 10 lbs a week on sumo DL and squats. It’s sometimes discouraging to not be hitting PRS because of having to change stances but it’s all about the big picture. I just need to be patient.

  2. I’ve decided to go back to the Texas Method. 5/3/1, in my opinion, might be a little too advanced for me to receive any substantial adaptation. I feel like I need a higher volume/higher intensity program.
    This week:
    Squat 5x161kg
    Bench 1x125kg

    Have you ever done anything for the foundation Catch A Lift or any other type of foundation for disabled vets? I’m currently in the works of putting a small little meat together to raise some money for it.

  3. I squatted 445×2… Any of you guys ever get pain kind of under your glute. It feels like right where the hamstring inserts into my glute and I can feel it when I flex my glute. I think it is my piriformis or something but I’m not sure. Any of you guys have experience with this?

    • Sure do. The thing that makes it go away for me is a simple Piriformis stretch. Put the ankle of one leg over the knee of the other, and pull your knee into your chest. At least that’s what has always worked for me.

  4. Been laying off the heavy weights and doing some off season work. Hit a rep PR of 365 for 8 which was cool. Been trying to incorporate a lot more volume into my training.

    In the last few days I have noticed a weird shooting pain when doing press movements in both of my arms, typically feel it right around my elbows and seems to affect how hard I can grip. Has anyone had anything similar? I was told it could be a pinched nerve and I have been doing some neutral flossing. Any tips would be appreciated

      • Outside. Lateral elbow. I have gotten to the point where I can finish my workouts but it seems to affect my grip for the rest of the day after lifting. No idea if that is connected or not

        • I have had the come issue for the past couple of weeks. Good ol’ tennis elbow. In my case, I did not get under a clean correctly and caught it on my wrist and must have strained the tendon. I never have had elbow issues in the past.

          I could not and make a first without pain the next day when I woke up. Now it only hurts if I do anything that requires a strong grip.

          I intend to just do a ton of squat volume while I get it some time to heal up. You gotta give tendons time to heal or else they never will.

          Good luck.

  5. Nothing too earth shattering this week. Pressed 115 for 4×6 solid, happy with that. Squat 225×7 then an easy single at 265. No PR on the power clean and boogered my bench this week, but hanging in there.

  6. Justin,
    Thanks for the Chalk Talk vids. My question relates to Chalk Talk 1 in which you talk about knee control during/bottom of the squat. Over time, this issue has gotten worse for me I.e as soon as I hit the hole and start to come up, my knees shoot in, and as i continue to rise they shoot out. Is this an issue of a muscle weakness/imbalance, or a sign of laziness in not being attentive to the issue over time?
    I do understand the hip external rotator controls knee position and I will be conscious of controlling my knees in my squat sessions moving forward to work on correcting the issue, just wanted to hear your opinion as a coach with experience. Thanks.

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